The Brooch- a short story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Short story about the loss of a precious item, and its safe return. But is it all as it seems?

Approx 5,500 words

Kate finished towel-drying her hair, and took her brush from the bag.  The chlorine from the pool always made her long black hair knot.  If she was at home she’d brush 100 times, just like her mother had taught her.  She still did it religiously each night, but now a quick brush would have to do.  Taking one last look at her reflection, Kate picked up her sponge bag, and headed for the lockers.

The door to her locker stood open, and she frowned as she approached it.  “I’m sure I locked it”, she thought, her hand went to her pocket and gripped the key.Close up, it was apparent the door had been forced, the metal around the lock twisted and buckled.  Kate held her breath as she pulled the door fully open, expecting the worse, relief flooding over her as she saw her laptop and handbag still standing at the bottom of the locker.She picked them both out, checking inside her handbag- purse, keys, cards, all still there- turning to head to reception and report the broken lock, when she realised what was missing.

“My coat!” she looked back in, as if she could have missed the bright pink garment.  Her eyes filled with tears, her sobs attracting the attention of the other patrons.  One of the other women came across, putting an arm around her as she cried. 

“Whatever is the matter?” the woman asked, taking in the scene.

“My coat, they took my coat”, Kate sobbed.

“Well, at least they left your bag, and your laptop”, the woman continued, looking puzzled at Kate; “I shouldn’t worry about a coat”.

Kate appeared inconsolable, “It’s not the coat, it’s my brooch, it was on the coat, and now it’s gone”

The woman gave her a hug, “I’ll get someone from reception”, she said, and hurried out of the changing rooms.

Kate couldn’t bear to have lost the brooch.  Shaped like a frog, about the size of a fifty pence piece, it was studded in semi-precious green stones with two deep red garnets for eyes.  It had been given to her grandmother as a wedding present, and as a child Kate had always coveted it, the way the light shone and glittered from the stones.  When her grandmother had passed away it had gone to Kate’s mother, and since her mother’s untimely death it had been hers.  She felt stupid for wearing it, it didn’t go with her pink coat, but it was all she had to remind her of the mother and grandmother, she liked having it close to her.  Her cheeks wet with her tears, she noticed a pair of legs appear before her.  Looking up, she saw Ed standing before her.  Creepy Ed, she thought to herself, unkindly, he worked at the leisure centre and was always hanging around the women that used the facilities, always keen to talk.  She tried to avoid him, most of the time, but he had her cornered now.

“Hi Kate, what’s wrong?” he asked, sitting beside her.  Kate shifted slightly away from him, getting some distance between them.  She told him about the theft of the coat, and the brooch, about how important it was to her.  Her sobs lessened as she spoke, silly as it seemed actually talking about this helped.  Ed listened intently, nodding and making the appropriate sounds.  When he put his hand on Kate’s shoulder she didn’t pull away, simply let him rest his hand there. 

The receptionist came in, all black hair and dark purple lipstick against her pale skin-  a wannabe Goth who had to tone it down for work.  She sounded like she’d rather be anywhere else than talking to someone about a theft- a theft meant the police, and a talking down by her supervisor, something she could do without.  She started to tell Kate about company policy, how the lockers were the responsibility of the patrons.  Kate just looked at her, not really taking it in. 

“Of course, you’ll need a crime number from the police to claim on your insurance, I can call them, if that’s what you want...” the receptionist was saying. Ed stood up, and said to Kate, “I’ll take a look around; maybe whoever took the coat dumped it if there was nothing in the pockets”.  He smiled reassuringly at Kate, who smiled back.  Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all, she thought.

The woman who had comforted Kate came back with a cup of water, which Kate drank thirstily. The receptionist stood, looking uncomfortable, her arms folded in front of her.  Kate told her she didn’t think the police would be interested, the brooch having more sentimental value than intrinsic. Relieved, the receptionist mumbled her thanks, then went back to her desk.  Kate sat, staring into space, her mind a whirl of emotion. 

A few minutes later, Ed appeared, a grin on his face.  He held his hand out in a fist, told Kate to close her eyes and put out her hand.  Kate wasn’t in the mood for games, Ed could see that, so instead he turned his hand over , palm up, and held the brooch out to Kate, “Sorry, I didn’t find your coat”.  Kate’s face lit up, a huge smile on her face, the elation washing over her, more tears filling her eyes.  “Oh, thank you, thank you!”  She took the brooch, turning it over in her hand.  It looked ok, no stones lost, the pin still fastened, pink fabric twisted around the pin, as if it had been ripped from the coat.  She could care less about the coat.  She stood, and gave Ed a hug.  Ed patted her back.  Kate continued her thanks, Ed looking embarrassed but pleased to have been able to help. 

Kate realised how exhausted she felt, her swim had taken it out of her, combined with the emotional rollercoaster she’d just experienced she felt completely drained.  She stood up, gathering her laptop bag and small sports bag, and walked toward the exit, Ed walking with her.

“Thanks again, Ed”, she said, “I owe you for finding my brooch”. 

Ed still looked embarrassed. “Can I give you a lift home? I noticed you came on the bus today”

Kate shuddered for a second- Creepy Ed had been watching her earlier- but the moment passed.  Why shouldn’t he notice I came on the bus, she thought, the stop was right outside the centre. Kate smiled, “Thanks, Ed, if I’m not putting you out, that would be really kind”. 

“Not at all”, he said, taking her bag and laptop from her, shouldering both.  They walked to the car park at the rear of the centre, towards his car.  Unlocking the car, he opened the passenger door with a flourish. “Madam, your carriage awaits”. 

Kate smiled, and got in; fastening her seat belt as Ed opened the rear door to put her bags in, making sure the pink coat under the passenger seat was well and truly hidden from view.


Submitted: March 24, 2012

© Copyright 2021 sanchez88. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Desilu

Ooh,this is a real thriller.I like the Hitchcock style
of this..It's well written Sanchez.
D.

Wed, May 2nd, 2012 7:56pm

Cheekyz

It seems not everything was lost *grins*

Fri, November 9th, 2012 7:30pm

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